France: Is Homophobia Really on the Rise in France?

France may have taken the historic step of legalising gay marriage last year, but it appears the landmark social reform came at a cost. The number of reported homophobic acts increased in 2013 by a staggering 78%, according to SOS Homophobie, a homophobia hotline and LGBTQ defense organization. 

The cases are striking to Americans because of the widely held fallacy that France is a tolerant society. This is not entirely the case. Religious diversity is tolerated as long as minorities remain quiet. “Laïcité,” the French version of secularism, favors Catholicism and is often used as a cudgel against the Muslim (and in some cases the Jewish) minority.

If there are more reports of homophobia, it is partly because of more homophobic incidents. But it is also because of more reporting of those incidents. For many years French LGBTQ people bought into the notion that France was tolerant. The virulence of the attacks on homosexuals during marriage equality was a revelation to these gays, as were the visible physical assaults on gay men. Read More